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Extra, Extra, Read All About It

This essay is a part of the Student Government series, a weekly column from Thomas Finegar.

All interconnected communities are dependent on effective channels of communication. This notion is especially true on a college campus, where new events are held each week by various organizations and individuals. . Bennington College has had, over its near 80 years of existence, dozens of different periodicals, newspapers, calendars, newsletters, and other platforms for advertisement, some of which exist today and others which tapered off after no more than one or two editions. Regardless, any large event on campus, like the upcoming Student Government Townhall, has and will continue to be advertised to the community through the current publications of these varieties.

Bennington College’s oldest communicative publication, College Week, is, in its own 80-year-old-words, “published and distributed every Tuesday to the Bennington College community.” College Week newsletter, created and distributed by the Communications office, has not changed in objective over the college’s history and has consistently been used primarily to highlight the upcoming college events of the week. This model of advertisement has been replicated by many other administrative departments and student organizations but these have never replaced College Week. 

The most notable examples of publications that were inspired by this model are the Academic Minute and the Bennington Bulletin. The Minute is sent out by the Provost and Deans office and, though the format is nearly identical to College Week, focuses on upcoming academic events and dates such as FWT deadlines and Plan Committee Days. The Bulletin, also distributed by Communications,  provides community members with information regarding the surrounding town, alumni, faculty, and staff. The final publication format historically common on campus is the student newspaper. There have been a total 16 different student newspapers in Bennington’s history, including the current Bennington Beacon*. These newspapers, though they have had a diverse array of angles and objective, have all been used by the community to advertise upcoming events on campus. Notable examples of student newspapers include the original Beacon (1947-1949), The Bennington Weekly (1950-1954; renamed The Bennington Biweekly in 1952 to reflect a publishing schedule change), and The Bennington Free Press Association (2003-Unknown end date).

Though these publications have been a centerpiece of event advertisement on campus, one of the most iconic forms of advertising at Bennington is ‘postering’. The front doors of every student house on campus, as well as many to academic buildings, are subject to being covered with posters for the upcoming events of the week. It is such a widely recognized format of advertising that the administration has sponsored the phenomenon by offering an on-campus job for students to poster for events. Any poster can be sent to posters@bennington.edu and, as long as it follows college guidelines, it will be put up around the campus on either Wednesdays or Fridays. This tradition has widely informed the social media advertisement that many events have across Facebook, Instagram, Discord, and/or email; many of the digital advertisements made are still in the format of a poster.

The Student Government Townhall that is being held this weekend has been implementing all of these traditional methods of advertising on-campus and digitally. The adherence to these historically precedented methods is a significant representation of how the developing student government hopes to plant itself in Bennington tradition.

*The Beacon was the name of the first student newspaper on campus from 1947-1949 and, though its successors would choose different names for 73 years, the current student newspaper, The Bennington Beacon readopted the name.

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